Lots of people have set up Facebook pages for their churches out of huge generosity of spirit, but not really realising that a Facebook Page is different from a static webpage. A Facebook Page has the opportunity to be social, dynamic and missional… but only if you do stuff to it. If you’re just getting to grips with this fact, and you’re as time-poor as most of us, you may be asking yourself whether it’s worth maintaining the page.
You’re probably asking yourself questions like:
If we have to do something, what’s the least we could do?
I’ve given this some thought, and I suspect the very least you can do and still have your Facebook Page noticed is two five to ten minute sessions each week. During your few minutes, try to make one post on your Page and two posts as your Page. On your Page, make a post looking forward to a church event, and a post reflecting on one. While there, like or comment on any posts by Page visitors.
In Page mode (Use Facebook as Page), visit a Page from your local community, and like the Page or a post, also commenting if you have time. Then visit another Page, this time from your wider Faith community. Do the same things. Like the Page or a post, and comment if you have time.
As often as you can manage it, at least once a fortnight, include a photo in a post on your Page. If you don’t have time to get people’s permission to show their faces, take photos that don’t include or identify people, but do have some relationship to your faith or your local setting. Photos attract more comments and likes, and help to create conversations on your page that others can join.
Any photo that you can legally use and that doesn’t identify people could be used in a hurry. Think about what is relevant to your faith and location, and do what suits the time you have available. Being there matters far more than being perfect. You don’t need to say a lot about a photo. Leave something for others to say as well. Conversation is outreach.
What if we can manage just a tiny bit more?
Your ideal next step is to have a second person from your church or group who also posts twice a week on your Page, and perhaps adds further photos. Two people are better than one, because the two of you can have some positive, welcoming conversations on your church Page. An existing conversation is easier for a newcomer to join than a monologue, even if that monologue is broken into tiny Facebook-sized pieces. A team of half a dozen people is better still, and wide networks within your extended faith community will often help you to form this team if it is not to be found within your own church group or congregation. If you’re a member of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, consider joining SM4Faith Page Force, a small team of people happy to help with each others’ pages.
How much is too much?
It is possible to post so often that a visitor to your page couldn’t possibly get a word in edgeways, and clearly this doesn’t send the kind of welcoming message that a faith community would intend. Having a team who respond to your posts and add posts of their own does help with this.
If you build a keen team and find that you are all able to post often, aim for variety. Share great posts from faith and local communities, acknowledging sources with a link back. Add video if relevant and brief. Incorporate humour. You may like to have a loose cycle of content types to create a balanced menu of your online activities. More on that another day.
The term Page has been capitalised to indicate that it refers to Facebook Pages specifically, rather than other internet pages which have different attributes.